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The Best and Worst Uniforms of All Time: The Baltimore Orioles

Nov 12, 2010, 3:00 PM EDT

Jim Palmer

The Best: They’ve stayed quite steady over the course of their 56-year existence, but they’ve changed little details more than you might remember. They’ve switched between various cartoon and various realistic birds a number of times and they’ve messed with the orange/black/white ratio on the hats too. They’ve always looked pretty sharp, though, never running away from the orange the way teams in other sports do from time to time. Of many good looks, I’m going with the cartoon bird-on-the- black-hat-with-orange-bill look they wore from 1966-70.

And let’s not forget the St. Louis Brown portion of their franchise’s history.  They were like a reverse-Yankees or reverse-Red Sox: they had a steady classic look until the late 30s, and then they changed to some weird options. With their obvious use of brown, however, perhaps they can show the Padres the way into a tasteful brown future.

The Worst: The famous all-orange alternates were not a regular look — I believe they only wore them on a handful of occasions — but it wasn’t good.  Like so many other teams, the Orioles looked bad when they chased the black uniform trend as well.

Assessment: They’ve always kept things coherent and have never strayed too far from a core look and color scheme.  And they’ve never done anything truly terrible. The most animated I’ve ever heard an Orioles fan get about their uniforms has involved returning the word “Baltimore” to the front of the roadies, which they did this past season.  As far as uniforms go, the Orioles have always had a handle on things, and that’s pretty admirable.

  1. lessick - Nov 12, 2010 at 3:41 PM

    As for the unis themselves, the 1966-1971 look was particularly good.

    What’s sharp is the thin black lettering of the player’s name above the orange number. It’s more readable than the larger color-contrast style letters that are so popular now. The thin black looked good and was unique. It was not used on the road jerseys, as I’m not sure how the black would look on gray.

    I think most fans here would like to see a return to the cartoon hat that you selected as best.

  2. solidzac - Nov 12, 2010 at 3:49 PM

    You know, I don’t remember that ornithologically correct bird for the life of me. I would’ve sworn that they never had a bird in their caps that faced left to right, and yet that’s the one they wore during my formative years. In my head, I seem to have replaced it with the lifelike bird, which is the one I like best.

    • handsfour - Nov 13, 2010 at 4:50 AM

      I have a hat with that bird on it (not an official fitted hat like the players wear, but a licensed copy), and the bird faces right when the hat is worn, like the other birds on the Orioles website.

      full disclosure: I’m not an Orioles fan and have never lived anywhere near Baltimore; I just liked the hat. :\

  3. woodenulykteneau - Nov 12, 2010 at 4:33 PM

    What about the St. Louis Browns… you said you’d include them with Baltimore when you reviewed the Nats/Expos.

    • Craig Calcaterra - Nov 12, 2010 at 4:34 PM

      Perhaps you should re-read the post.

      • woodenulykteneau - Nov 12, 2010 at 4:39 PM

        Thanks, it was so clearly labeled – I can’t believe how I could have missed it.

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